Dr. Rick Sessoms
Leading Teams with Care
Five Essential Factors Process
[00:00:00] Tonight. I thought that we would move into the next piece and we're going to come back to this team Dimensions in just a few moments. But let's just jump forward into the third factor for an essential team, and that is team process in the area of team process. How we define that is it every member knows that a team makes decisions as important, knows how the team makes decisions. I've been on teams. Maybe you've been on teams, had no idea how the team made decisions. There may have been a formal, stated way that the team makes decisions, but a very much more powerful, much more strategic, informal way. And that can get confusing. Not only does every member know how the team makes decisions, but also the process by which decisions will be carried out and his or her specific task as the team pursues its purpose. That's what process is about. Now, when we talk about, as I mentioned, about how teams make decisions. I was in I was working with a with a group. I won't mention which country it was, but it was in Asia and they were going through a major transition. And they had they had developed a brand new team. The old structure kind of fizzled. And so they decided they were going to put together brand new teams, a major ministry. And I was there to help and to consult with them. They were you know, how when you get on a new team, everybody has euphoria. It's exciting. There's a lot of hope and inspiration. And this is going to be great kind of stuff. And so they sat in the first meeting and said, Now this is how we're going to make decisions. Fine.
[00:01:51] Within two weeks, however, because of the old culture, the old way of doing things, decisions started to be made in a very different way, the real decisions. And so there was a lot of a lot of ill will around the table, simply because the way that decision it was stated that decisions would be made was very different than the way decisions were actually made. So in that context, the real decisions were made before the people ever came around the table. And so some people felt very left out. So it's very important as a team to know how the team makes decisions. And every person needs to know that clearly and how those decisions will be carried out. Speaking of decisions, what I want to do is to go into a discussion of what is a good decision. The anatomy of a good decision. And there are a couple of different components of a good decision. The two components very simply are first decision quality. What is the quality? How, how, how, how, how robust is it? Have we thought about the decision long enough and hard enough? And have we put the process in place so that the decision is actually a quality decision? But there's another factor to a good decision in that decision acceptance. And if you don't have both of those things, it's not a very good decision. And we're going to unpack that a bit more. But this is a very important piece of building team cohesion and how this world works together. So let's talk about decision quality. There are several key components there, several key steps, I should say, to building good decision quality. The first is we really have to understand the problem. I have found on teams that I'm that I'm part of that, that oftentimes understanding the real problem is about 60% of the battle.
[00:04:05] Have you ever experienced that? Sometimes we flounder around almost starting to come up with the answers, and we really don't know what the question is yet. And so it's really critical to focus and to understand what the problem is in every person. The team needs to understand what that problem is. Secondly, after we clearly our understanding of articulated the problem, we need to examine the alternatives. That's plural alternatives. There needs to be an opportunity to explore various ways of solving that problem or addressing that question. Several solutions. So that's about examining the alternatives and then finally predicting the results. What will happen if we follow this alternative? What will happen if we follow that alternative? When we have when we have a successfully as a as a team accomplished answering clearly those three questions, then we generally have a pretty good decision in hand. Does that make sense? So that's a simple formula, but it tends to be very effective if we pay attention diligently to those three steps, indecision, quality, questions about that. The clear. Yeah, the challenge is in the details in terms of, for example, understanding the problem. How do you how do you think it's. That's best accomplished. Because it's so easy to grasp that what seems to be what seems to be the simple understanding of the problem. So how is the best way to accomplish that? To understand the problem? Suggestions on teams that you've been part of. How is the best way to understand the problem? Okay. Listening. Trying to seek out the perspective of those that are not as dominant in the conversation or dominant in the process, and not depending upon those that are the loudest, being the most right or I don't mean say loudly this paper, but sometimes easier at some teams.
[00:06:41] For some people, most dominant personalities, perhaps a neutral person who's not involved with that. Mm hmm. That's right. Somebody that's maybe looks at it from the outside or is having a fresh view of things. So they get into the underlying drivers that are kind of driving the problem that those hidden things that were often overlooked. Mm hmm. See those? I understand the charge to understand the charge. What do you mean by that, Jim? What the groups charge to do. Okay. Of that charge might be the process is going to be democratic, is going to be of you to say the person part of the charge might be we got to get from point A to point B of the charge is you can't consider digital. Consider that so far, I understand the problem is understanding the charge. Good. It's just looking at outside factors to weather this problem is something that has been creative puzzle. Is there a specific reason for it for really confusing other situations and contributing to whatever we're calling the problem? Logistically in a group. If you're leading the group, you have each person to say what they think is the problem. I mean, like if you're trying to come to their senses, you try to just make sure each person has said the problem and then kind of hash out, let's get together, let's find out what, what, what it is. And I've seen so many different groups that try to create. Previous churches were theirs. Now there's one. Not only that, you know, it's meant said we're still dating this church. Yeah. Okay. Yes. But just where they were all in the committee. Like even hiring a person. Person hiring person. A new person. And, you know, they're all looking for these very different qualities or that are not meeting the actual needs of what's needed.
[00:09:00] Now. It's something from the past or from, you know, just that basic what do we need, what is there and really working on that part and what do we need really then? Yeah. And I yeah, I find it so often helpful when you're facing a problem to consult with the opposition and consult with the opposition. Interesting. And instead of insulting, you know, you know, often problems have and, and sometimes from sergeant, you start to view the opposition as a piece of. Oftentimes, rather than pulling away from that opposing faction, it's best to move towards that opposing faction in a setting that the tension can be really like over coffee or something like that, you know, and then just really pick the brain of some of the leaders of the opposition so you can understand the problem from a different perspective. Yeah, that's excellent. Are you familiar with the concept group? Think. Groupthink, of course, is when a group gets together and for whatever reason, whether it's purposes of peace or if it's because they're they've been inside of a culture for so long and they're so familiar with it that they all tend to think the same way. They tend to think along the same patterns. It's almost like they're following the same road, even subconsciously. And this can often happen to groups, to teams that have been together for quite some time. They can develop a group think. This particularly happens in churches because we sort of have an aversion to disagreeing at least out loud. Now internally, of course, we disagree all the time, but out loud we have a problem with that. Some time ago I wrote a blog entry for on our Web site about the value of a court jester.
[00:11:14] And it kind of goes along with this with this idea. The court jester, of course, in the time of the Knights of the roundtable was there basically for the survival and the welfare of the king. But his role was to sort of poke fun and use humor to bring out those things that the that that the people inside the circle tended not to see. And so the value of a court jester in understanding the problem is often very, very helpful for a team. And it goes back to what Jan was saying, perhaps somebody even from the outside that that maybe have a different perspective on things can help a team a great deal in in really getting a bead on what that problem is. Let me just say welcome let me just say that it it takes hard work to understand the problem. It's almost always hard work to really clearly not only understand it, but articulate and to make sure that everybody on the team truly understands it. I've found that that may be the hardest of all of coming up with a good decision quality. Once we understand the problem, the other things tend to flow out of that. But understanding the problem, if we don't get that base set it, we can end up, you know, in a in a place that we never intended to be or that doesn't really isn't really helpful. Other thoughts comments about decision quality. Well with those in the problem kind of say the proper scope for the solution or the or the problem that you're trying to address because sometimes there's a bigger problem, but your team can, because of their, you know, position in the church or whatever, can only address this part.
[00:13:07] So you're saying part of the understanding is to understand the scope, the limitations of the scope of the problem. Yeah. And the scope that your team is able to have. Right. Stress and good that way because often you get to, you know, make a decision, go to direction, but you get frustrated trying to implement what you decide on because you really can impact the entire situation. Excellent. Very good. So that's a bad decision quality. The second part of a good decision is about decision acceptance. Now, there are several ways that decisions are accepted, and none of these ways is necessarily the way. But there are several ways. One is by consensus. We I know of a one group that always wanted to make every decision by consensus, and they ended up stalled because it simply found times when consensus simply was not the most expedient or even the most. It wouldn't. It didn't work. And so the team bogged down. But consensus is a way and consensus certainly is one of those preferred ways, if we can reach consensus is a wonderful, wonderful thing. But there's other ways. There's negotiation where it's win. We all get something. Probably none of us gets everything, but we all get something. So that's a way of going about making decisions. And then there's voting. Voting may be one of the least popular. Despite our democratic system here in the United States, voting often creates winners and losers. And so, you know, as best we can, it's probably appropriate in a team context to avoid voting. But sometimes that may be the only way through. And there are rare times in which that's an appropriate approach. And then finally, a unilateral approach, as sometimes if a team is in a crisis, if you're on a battlefield, if a team is on a battlefield and they're getting shot at, bullets are flying.
[00:15:19] That's not a time to see. Consensus is time for the commander to tell everybody, get their heads down. There's a time and a place. Rare, though, it be. There's a time and a place on a team for unilateral decisions. So we're not suggesting that there is one way to make decisions on a team. There are numerous ways and we have to identify the conditions upon which those ways are the most appropriate way fits.